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Things Actively Attempting To Murder Your Marriage, Ranked

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a terrible, terrible movie. Admittedly, there are some chuckle-worthy parts. But even saying that is misleading, because you’re hit with so many gags and jokes per minute that a few of them are bound to land. It’s humor diarrhea. From the ass of a mid-air hawk. Which is unfortunate, because the premise itself isn’t bad. The Old West probably was a terrible place to be; a fact Seth MacFarlane’s “Albert” rants on during the movie, as he names a few of those million things that can kill you.

It’s apropos that the Wife Person and I watched this over the weekend, as Sunday was the date of our first anniversary. Which means we’ve survived a year of marriage despite multiple factors actively trying to end it. As great and awesome and shit as marriage is, I’m learning that its success largely depends on how well you kill — or, at least, neutralize — the stuff attempting to kill it. There are too many of them to list, so I’ve decided to just rank the top 10.

10. Married Strangers With Shitty Unsolicited Advice

A sneakily terrible biproduct of being married is the fact that, once other married people learn that you’re married, some of them will give you unsolicited and absolutely horrible advice. And sometimes these people will be waiting in an omelet line with you. And sometimes they’ll say shit like “I’m not saying hit her. But your wife needs to fear you. Like Jackie and JFK” that’ll make you want to switch omelet lines.

9. Toilet Paper

Regardless of how much you have, you will never have enough of it. But you can always find it if you really need it. Or if you’re willing to be creative.

Basically “toilet paper” = “happiness.”

8. Bitches

Relax. By “bitches” I don’t mean “women.” Instead, bitches are any and every person in your life who you’re forced to interact with even though they don’t bring many positive vibes to it. This could be work bitches. School bitches. Bitches at the Post Office. Facebook bitches. Next-door neighbor bitches. Citizen Bank bitches. Bitches at the gym. And Don Lemon.

7. The Person You Were Before You Got Married

And not the person you were a month before you got married, but the person you were in 2009. Because you still remember that person and that year. And you remember the freedom; the all-nighters with your boys; the random shit you used to fall into because your life was a perpetual scavenger hunt for more random shit to fall into. The problem is when you stop treating that person like college — a great experience you have no desire of repeating — and start allowing him to inch back into your life.

6. Friends And Family Members With Shitty Advice

Because when Aunt Jackie advises you to “let a man be a man sometimes” and to “love unconditionally, even if it hurts” it sounds great…until you remember she stayed with Uncle Ralph through four stints of rehab, three bouts of prison, two bouts of syphilis, and that 29 month period when he randomly decided to walk the Earth like Kane in “Kung Fu.”

5. Car Trips Where At Least One Of You Is Not Completely Sure How To Get There

Is a silent but effective killer. Like hypertension. Or being Black in America.

4. Gone Girl

I will never not be convinced that this book and movie were specifically created to make every married man and woman wonder if their spouse was secretly a sociopath.

(Closer also works too.) 

3. Bed Bath & Beyond

There are two types of people in every relationship. The person who doesn’t actively hate every moment spent in Bed Bath & Beyond. And the person who, when asked “What kind of towels should we get?” will respond “Some…fluffy shit? I don’t know” while his/her eyes never leave his/her iPhone. How happy your marriage will be largely depends on how quickly you learn to not make those trips together anymore.

2. Pride

Along with being the number one killer of Black men between the ages of 5 and 105 (ht to Panama), it’s on some Hannibal shit when it comes to relationships. And not the Anthony Hopkins Hannibal, but the Mads Mikkelsen one. (The difference? As great as Hopkins was as Hannibal, he never looked like he could kick any and everyone’s ass if he needed to. Mikkelsen does. Hopkins was creepy. Mikkelsen is scary.)

An accurate representation of pride

An accurate representation of the murderousness of pride

1. You

Because, if you’re in a relationship long enough, you will actively do things to sabotage it. With no warning and no provocation. It won’t — well, it shouldn’t — be intentional. But you will do and say certain things that you know will not be helpful in any way whatsoever; shit that’ll make you say “I really just did/said that, huh? What the fuck is wrong with me?” But you’ll do it anyway.

You can’t kill this part of you. Because, duh, you’ll be dead. But what you can do is neutralize it. My advice? Carry a taser on your hip, and grip it whenever you feel the urge to do/say some sabotaging shit. Or just go and buy some more toilet paper.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • MsSula

    Congrats on making it through the first year. Many more to come.

  • Geoffrey

    My 1-year anniversary was on the 4th of July so Damon I feel you on every single one of your points. The only thing I’d do is swap out Bed Bath and Beyond with Whole Foods. I know it’s heresy to say so, (and probably completely irrational), but I hate that place with a fiery passion. I’m pretty sure Instacart has effectively saved my marriage.

    • AlwaysCC

      or Target

      • Geoffrey

        Word. Especially since the closest Target is low-key in the hood.

        • AlwaysCC

          i can’t remember the last time my husband went to target with me (and we’re not going to talk about how often i’m there – it’s a SUPERTarget lol). that’s probably why we’ve been married almost 9 years…

          • Amazonian Midget

            Every time we’re out and I say, “I need to run by the store (read: Target) before we go home,” he begs me to take him home before I go. Which is fine with me because I don’t like the “judgy” faces he makes when he does go. lol

            • Stephane

              I cackled at “he begs me to take him home”….too funny.

              • Amazonian Midget

                He’s far too much. lol Sometimes I’ll drive right past the house just to be funny.

                • AlwaysCC

                  you’re my type of lady lol

    • Damon Young

      yeah, you can pretty much substitute any big box store

    • LadyIbaka

      Speaking of which, whole foods buffet spread is sooooo not the business. Very, very oily

  • nillalatte

    You seem to have a toilet paper fettish! LOL Hated that “West” movie. Rented Gone Girl, but couldn’t get into it.

    Congrats on the 1 year! Waiting to hear about year seven. ;) that’s the doozie. lol

    • Damon Young

      maybe year seven is when the “your degrees” sequel will be released

  • MzzPeaches

    Congrats!

    &

    “7. The Person You Were Before You Got Married

    And not the person you were a month before you got married, but the person you were in 2009. Because you still remember that person and that year. And you remember the freedom; the all-nighters with your boys; the random shit you used to fall into because your life was a perpetual scavenger hunt for more random shit to fall into. The problem is when you stop treating that person like college — a great experience you have no desire of repeating — and start allowing him to inch back into your life.”.

    Seeing as how I’m nowhere near married and still this person, my perpetual fear is that I’ll be in mourning for this person once I say “I do” and the dust settles. I think I’m a little high on that freedom aspect right now. I have a few married friends who are on the “hold out as long as you can cause this chit is hard, like hard hard” tip right now and try to live vicariously through me.

    • Damon Young

      i agree that people need to stay single as long as they can, and that you should only get married if you both genuinely believe life with this person will be better than your life without them

      • LeeLee

        “you should only get married if you both genuinely believe life with this person will be better than your life without them”

        I agree. I’m realizing that there isn’t necessarily someone for everyone. And that’s ok. It’s refreshing for me to read you and everyone else’s realistic insights on marriage and kids as a single person. I’d like to make the leap with that special man, one day…. if he exists. Otherwise, #teamsingle.

        Congratulations on your anniversary! Love is a beautiful thing.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Stay single. Learn more about yourself. Investing in someone else is beyond anything you’ve ever done, and it will hurt a lot when that person makes you face yourself in the mirror. Best to have more knowledge of yourself than be surprised to know about yourself while you’re 6 years in and facing all sorts of craziness while being responsible for everything.

    • MsSula

      It may be tough to let go of that person. But the person you become has an added advantage: it has been that other person and gets to be this evolved and hopefully more mature new person. You know, caterpillar to butterfly and sh!t. :)

    • Epsilonicus

      Honestly, you do mourn the person you used to be. Not because the entirety of the experience was better than being married, but there were some awesome parts. I don’t front, there are things I miss. I miss the lack of responsibility (I met my wife in college. We started dating my senior year) and bills. I miss being at that lower weight and peak athletic ability. There are moments I miss being care free with little effs to give.

      However, overall, the life I lead today wins by a long shot. So there you up

  • Dmaclee

    A-men…we will be hitting year 7 in September and #1 is the God’s honest truth. And the fact that there really is a cadre of unhappy, lonely, miserable people who want you to be unhappy and miserable too.

    • Damon Young

      yeah, the unhappy people are on the list too. but they don’t rank very high because it’s easy to spot and avoid them

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Not always though. Some start with good advice…and then it gets shady as you wonder where the trees are coming from.

        • Amazonian Midget

          Or they’re friends who slowly turn on you when you get married.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Or…they were friends who had an eye on you but never said anything and now all of a sudden you’ve ruined their diabolical plan.

            • Amazonian Midget

              LOL I was blocked and unfollowed all over social media an in real life because of that. I giggled.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                buahaha seriously? The pettiness…its so cute.

                I just get low key shade, but they all played me back in the day. I never get it.

                • Amazonian Midget

                  Yes! I thought it was utterly hilarious.

                  People are so petty! It’s the Laura/Urkel/Myra situation. Your Laura’s were mad when you chose Myra.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    Exactly…like don’t say nothing to me when I offered and you was being cute!

                    • Amazonian Midget

                      Right!

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Ahhh people are too funny. Everyone I know is amazed at how my wife is….like I tricked a leprechaun into granting me a wish or some $hit. All these pretty girls wanna be cute with me now….I am not dumb!

                    • Amazonian Midget

                      ..and your wife probably finds it funny too. I know I would. Silly people.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      She does, that’s why she knows I’m not gonna stray

        • Epsilonicus

          I am not seeing this among my married friends or myself. Who has these gaggle of haters in their life?

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            I don’t think so. All I can say is I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. No one in my family can provide a good example, nor any of my friends. Everybody has their fair share of problems and randomly say some slick $hit about their lives or what they see of yours as the cynicism takes over.

    • MsSula

      Congrats on year 7. About to hit #2 in 3 weeks. That #1 though! It did tell me about myself in so many ways! Jesus had to take the wheels more than a few times. #WhewChile!

  • panamajackson

    Congrats brethren! Cheers to 100 more. I’m an optimist.

    • Damon Young

      100 years is a long time

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Not in dog years. That’s how you should always look at marriage. Its like you deserve a medal that way.

        Seriously, congrats. Its not easy but it is everything you need.

  • TeeChantel

    1 year? Wow, that went by fast. Congrats on the 1 year anniversary. Wishing you and your wife many more years of love, happiness and lots of toilet tissue.

  • laddibugg

    (disclaimer, not married yet)

    #5 Went through this over the weekend, and ended up missing an affair because of it. And also because he’s a slow poke, last minute person. Let me get a shape up, shop for a shirt, AND iron my clothes 1.5 hours before we need to leave? I knew it was a fail right then.

    #4 He’s openly a sociopath. Well, not really but I could see him planning some Gone Guy mess.
    I can see myself planning it too so I guess we’re matched perfectly?

    • Damon Young

      lol, i’m glad two people who might actually frame the other for a fake murder have found love with each other

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      I think yall should be just invest in crazy glue. So whoever picks up the knife first can’t get rid of it.

  • Kelli LeJeune

    Parents married 48 years, 49 in December, my father buys the Charmin from Costco and lots of it… you might be on to something….

    • TeeChantel

      Haha. My parents have been married for 43 years. They stock up on Scott tissue (like the 48 pack you get from Sam’s) and leave it in the pack on the kitchen floor for weeks on end.

      • Uniquely Blushed

        I leave my big pack of Scott tissue in the kitchen for days/weeks as well…. I’m not sure why because the linen closet is right down the hall but everyone in the house knows, to go to the kitchen and get a roll of tissue. lol

        • TeeChantel

          My toilet tissue has to be in the bathroom cabinet or the tissue stand must be stocked with extra rolls.

          It’s a problem when you’re using the bathroom and run out of toilet tissue only to find out you still left it in the kitchen. I can’t have those type of problems.

    • Damon Young

      solo trips to Costco has saved more marriages than Jesus

  • AlwaysCC

    i would like to add to the list: deciding how to decorate/renovate your house. let us bow our heads in prayer for my marriage lol

    • Damon Young

      that one has been surprisingly easy for us. mainly because we’re both minimalists.

      • AlwaysCC

        we bought an older home and are slowly planning renovations. we just have very different styles – he more modern, and i’m more eclectic. and don’t even talk to me about an outdoor kitchen until my indoor kitchen is finished…but i digress lol

      • Val

        I’m becoming a minimalist. It’s a wonderful thing. So freeing.

        • Illumina

          I grew up with trail living (you know only one trail to walk through in the living room), so I’ve been a minimalist from a young age.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      So…your house isn’t on fire yet? Good on you.

      • AlwaysCC

        lol naw we don’t play that #nolefteye

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Never say never.

          That’s why I keep a fire extinguisher.

          Getting an axe next.

          • AlwaysCC

            lol a fire extinguisher gets you a small discount on your homeowner’s insurance, too

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Yes it does. Not sure about the axe though. Its like a way for both of us to put each other on notice when the wrong day comes.

    • Tristan

      Watch enougj HGTV suddenly you find all your sh t is slowly moving to the basement

      • Sigma_Since 93

        basement, yard sales, consignment shops, goodwill, young relatives just starting out…………….

      • AlwaysCC

        naw! he’s the bad one! walking around talking about “we can just knock out this wall…”

      • Illumina

        Too much Property Brothers caused me to put in new counters.

      • Epsilonicus

        Myw ife and I have similar decorative tastes. The only beef is we dont own our home so we can’t turn our ideas into action.

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